Category Archives: Outdoors

Global warming aka climate change…not cooling. UPDATED



Longterm trends are the important thing; a couple of very hot years, ironically, have been made the basis for the idea that the earth is cooling. The graph from shows how ridiculous that is.
UPDATE: See comments for discussion.


Filed under Exxon: the Pope's in their pocket, global warming/environment, Outdoors

Obama plus Gore!!


Barack Obama will give Gore a big part to play in his adminstration. Great news and a great move by Obama.

“I would,” Obama said. “Not only will I, but I will make a commitment that Al Gore will be at the table and play a central part in us figuring out how we solve this problem. He’s somebody I talk to on a regular basis. I’m already consulting with him in terms of these issues, but climate change is real. It is something we have to deal with now, not 10 years from now, not 20 years from now.”

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Filed under Al Gore, Barack Obama, global warming/environment, John McCain for president of Del Boca Vista, Outdoors, perpetual war: fascism in disguise, science: not a very Republican thing to do, Wordpress Political Blogs

Dr. Robert Jarvik, inventor of the fake rowing scene for Lipitor


Congress has been asking some tough questions while wearing their serious faces about why Dr. Richard Jarvik (inventor of the Jarvik artificial heart) is shilling Lipitor when he’s not actually licensed to practice medicine.

ABC News says that Dr. Jarvik has been paid a guaranteed $1.35 million for the ads, which feature him espousing the virtues of Lipitor in a doctoriffic-looking lab coat and rowing around a lake talking about “when diet and exercise aren’t enough.”

Here’s our favorite part of the story—the New York Times says that Dr. Jarvik uses a stunt double when he’s shown rowing in the commercials.

As it turns out, Dr. Jarvik, 61, does not actually practice the sport. The ad agency hired a stunt double for the sculling scenes.
“He’s about as much an outdoorsman as Woody Allen,” said a longtime collaborator, Dr. O. H. Frazier of the Texas Heart Institute. “He can’t row.”


Filed under celebrities in the news, economics, food/drink, healthcare, Humor, media, Outdoors

Sea levels may rise FIVE feet this century


The world’s sea levels could rise twice as high this century as U.N. climate scientists have predicted, according to researchers who looked at what happened more than 100,000 years ago, the last time Earth got this hot.

Experts working on the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have suggested a maximum 21st century sea level rise — a key effect of global climate change — of about 32 inches.

But researchers said in a study appearing on Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience that the maximum could be twice that, or 64 inches.

They made the estimate by looking at the so-called interglacial period, some 124,000 to 119,000 years ago, when Earth’s climate was warmer than it is now due to a different configuration of the planet’s orbit around the sun.

…..” Back then, Greenland was 5.4 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than now — which is similar to the warming period expected in the next 50 to 100 years, Rohling said.

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Filed under Al Gore, Bush blunders worldwide, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, global warming/environment, Outdoors, Republican politicians: are any of them normal

Gore: US is obstructing Bali action on climate change

“My own country, the United States is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali. We all know that,” Gore said to loud applause. “But my country is not the only one that can take steps to ensure that we move forward from Bali with progress and with hope.”

“I think he is incorrect.”–WH spokeswoman Dana Perino

You’re pretty much alone in the world on that one, Dana.

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Filed under Al Gore, Bush blunders worldwide, Exxon: the Pope's in their pocket, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, global warming/environment, Outdoors, Politics, public corruption, Republican politicians: are any of them normal, science: not a very Republican thing to do, Wordpress Political Blogs

The James Kim story: turn-off sign obscured by tree

The James Kim family ended up on Bear Camp Road because they missed a turn off I-5 onto a much better road. Here’s a possible explanation of how they may have gone wrong.

as I drove South on I-5. The sign to OR 42 on I-5 is actually a fairly complicated sign. The reason is that it has TWO numbers of the routes you could seek, with Route 99 appearing on the left and Route 42 on the right. Sorry I can’t reproduce it here precisely, but it is something like this:

              99     Coos Bay

In other words, if the Kim family was looking for “42,” they could easily have missed the sign, because they might have just seen the “99.” Indeed, what I discovered was actually more scary than that. As I approached the sign announcing that the exit was one mile away, I shuddered because there was a growth of pine or fir branch covering the “42″ on the right of the sign. Thus it would have been nearly impossible for them to have seen the “42″ on the sign. I was looking for it, I knew where it was and I almost missed it. I had to crane my neck as I was passing the sign to see the “42.” No one has yet pointed this out. There was one more sign right at the exit, as usual, but if they hadn’t been prepared for it before that time, there was no reason to think they would have seen it.

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Filed under James Kim, Outdoors

Why did John Edwards build his mansion on a NC coastal lowland?

Sea levels are rising; latest I’ve seen is we’re committed to a five foot rise. Plus violent storms on the Atlantic seaboard.

I don’t know the exact elevation of Edwards’ huge, huge mansion, but looking at the topos of Figure 8 Island (google map Bayshore NC and go southeast, or go to Topozone) I don’t see how it could be much more than 5 feet above sea level.

The implication: he doesn’t believe in global warming, or didn’t when he bought the land.
The upside: he’ll fight warming tooth and nail.

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Filed under Al Gore, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, global warming/environment, John Edwards: has he reinvented himself?, Outdoors

Oregon closes road where James Kim family stranded one year ago


Bear Camp Road, also known as Route 34-8-36, will remain closed throughout the winter, reopening in the spring pending favorable conditions, officials said.

Closure signs will be placed on the Galice Access Road as well as at all closed gates. The gates and signs will be checked regularly until the roads are reopened.

In addition, the gates on secondary roads in the area leading off the Galice Access Road, Peavine/Serpentine Springs Road and Forest Highway 23 will also be locked during the first week of November.

The Peavine/Serpentine Springs Road is not plowed and is often closed during the winter by heavy snowfall. Drivers are also advised to use caution because the road is currently being used by log truck traffic.

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Filed under James Kim, Outdoors

Steve Fossett: Can’t Barron Hilton find him?

Yes, America and the world are concerned. And, the citizens of California, Nevada, and I suppose the US are paying for the search. Search and rescue volunteers are actually risking their lives and equipment. Thousands of nerds are squinting at their computer screens, scanning photographs provided through Google Earth and, each  one hoping to be the one that finally spots the little plane and its heroic pilot. But SFgate gives a slightly different perspective on Fossett, his host, and the lifestyles of the rich and famous. (Of course, you already know about Paris Hilton, so this shouldn’t be too big a shock.)


Until dozens of airplanes and helicopters began roaring over this pristine little ranchland valley this month, most locals had no idea there was a huge aviation playland for the rich just a few miles from their barn doors.

All those aircraft have been buzzing in and out of the Flying M Ranch, searching for world-renowned adventurer Steve Fossett, who disappeared in an acrobatic airplane on Labor Day. He, too, had taken off from the ranch, home of billionaire hotel magnate Barron Hilton.

The reaction from plenty of folks who live here was: Say what?

Eighty hot, dusty miles south of Reno, the ranch is probably one of the best-kept secrets around here for everyone except celebrities and those in the upper slipstream of aviation society.

“Well, they fly the rich and famous in there, and that’s about as much as we know about it,” said Rob Cockrell, who lives in the nearby community of Mason Valley. “But I guarantee you this: Mr. Hilton isn’t going to come down here and shake my hand.”

…Set at the end of a 17.4-mile-long, chassis-jarring dirt road, the million-acre spread of ranchland surrounding a mansion with its own airfield has drawn the famous and rich in steady trickles since Hilton – grandfather to vacuous It-Girl Paris Hilton – bought it 40 years ago. Most of the land is leased from the federal Bureau of Land Management, and all told it encompasses a Rhode Island-size swath of mountain and desert from the ghost town of Bodie in California on the west to Nevada’s Walker Lake on the east.

The ranch was named after Hilton’s late wife, Marylin. It originally was intended to be a pampering rest stop for high rollers from Las Vegas and to house Hilton’s collection of antique and exotic airplanes. But over the decades, it has evolved into a hangout for those who share the 79-year-old billionaire’s love of aviation.

…The draw is simple: Fly in privately with no notice because it is so remote, tool around the skies as much as you please, and indulge in the graciousness of the man whose very name embodies hospitality. At least one gourmet chef is on staff, and her skills are so legendary among guests that rescue workers said Fossett’s disappearance was quickly noted since he would never have missed the lunch on tap for that day.

If you’re deft with a flying stick or yoke (an aircraft steering wheel), you might just get to take a spin in Hilton’s Cessna Citation V Ultra, 1941 Stearman biplane, two gliders, 1943 Beech Staggerwing, McDonnell Douglas 500E helicopter or three hot-air balloons – all of which, according to one of his Web sites, Hilton still flies.

He also owns a Bellanca Citabria Super Decathlon, one of the world’s best acrobatic airplanes. That is what the wealthy Fossett, who lives in Chicago and Carmel, borrowed on Labor Day and disappeared in.

“There’s a whole bunch of us who have a love for flying, and we just get together,” Hilton told Denver-based aviation writer Di Freeze in 2003, explaining his passion for running the airplane playland.

“No one is more generous than Barron,” Clay Lacy, owner of Clay Lacy Aviation, gushed in the same article.

Among those who have basked in Hilton’s glow over the years are actors Cliff Robertson and Sylvester Stallone, who hunts in the hills with his children. Also visiting were the late astronaut Alan Shepard and the late singer John Denver, who learned gliding at the Flying M and died a decade ago flying off the coast of Monterey.

Specialists in gliding are particularly excited about the estate – if they get an invitation to Hilton’s Barron Hilton Cup, a gliding competition held at the ranch every two years among the top gliders of the world. Italian world champion glider Giorgio Galetto told Freeze in the 2003 article that the experience was “a modern fairy tale.”

Locals in the know rhapsodize – from afar, not from experience – about trout fishing in the East Walker River, which cuts through the ranch, and skeet shooting alongside the soaring mountain slopes. The word in the area is that some guests have been supplied $3,000 golden retrievers to help track down the area’s elusive quail.

The central compound is a rancher’s dream, consisting of a mansion-size main house, a scattering of spacious guest houses and poplar, cottonwood and elm trees casting shade over all. At the north end are an alfalfa field and stack of hay bales, at the south end a cattle pen and pond with egrets flapping among the tule reeds.

Across the dirt road are two large hangars and an airfield, which all week long has been buzzing with civilian and National Guard aircraft, which are conducting a Hilton-subsidized search for Fossett in conjunction with the official hunt headquartered 40 miles north in Minden. On Thursday there were six helicopters, four small planes, two private jets and a military fuel truck near the lone runway just after lunchtime.

“Let’s just say that unless you’re rich and famous, nobody even thinks of going to that place,” said area resident Roberto Estrella. “It’s in the middle of nowhere for a reason.”

And yes, Maude, prostitution is legal in Lyon County.

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Filed under economics, FEMA/Homeland Security, gadgets, media, Outdoors, public corruption, San Francisco

Don’t let those sunflowers go to waste

Sunflowers are wilting over and the seeds are ripening. Some say to wait until the back of the blossom is yellow, but once the big yellow petals are pretty much gone you can start looking to see when the seeds are becoming striped and mature. The little florets will come off easily. Sometimes ants will start crawling over the heads but that is not a problem.

Once the seeds are striped, they are mature, and you can cut off the head and wash it off in a bucket with a pressure nozzle; rub the seeds off into a kettle, add some salt water and you’re on the way to some great snacks, for you and your local birds. One tip: it takes a lot of space to dry the seeds after you’ve had them in the salt water: about two square feet for each sunflower’s worth of seeds; and you’ll do well to use some sort of fan or heated fan to help with the drying. It can take many hours if you don’t have enough space. There are probably some inventive ways of drying them outside in the sun, but you’ll have to account for such things as birds and bugs.

Roasting is trial and error, tastewise: try some with butter, margarine, olive oil, tamari, or whatever strikes your fancy.  I use olive oil, about a teaspoon per cup of seeds.  A cookie sheet will hold about a cup and a half of seeds, single layer.  I roasted for 15 minutes, at about 275-300,  stirring several times. You have to watch closely, and get them out before they turn brown.

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Filed under food/drink, Outdoors